Regulatory Bodies

If you have concerns about services provided by the utilities, want to object to offensive advertising, argue against government agency decisions, here are the contacts. All the web sites listed will have details of addresses, phone numbers, and nearly all will describe what they cover, what they can’t deal with, and the procedure you need to follow. Some studying here is likely to save time in wasted approaches.

Utility/Industry Regulators

Utility regulators mainly deal with pricing matters and aren’t very good at explaining their complaints procedure on their sites. See also Media/communications below.

Government/local council regulators

Other areas: start out at

The Ombudsman Association has a list of members.

Also note Centre for Governance and Scrutiny – online resource for auditors or scrutineers of public sector bodies. “Not only to hold executives to account but also to create a constructive dialogue between the public and its elected representatives” on public services.

Government Departmental websites are on the Lobby page.

Not-for profit and social regulators

  • Independent Complaints Reviewer investigates complaints about Land Registry, The National Archives, The Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency, Children’s Commissioner for Wales.


Charity fundraising is regulated in a number of ways. Local authorities licence street collections, while the Charity Commission (in England and Wales) registers and oversees accounting and reporting.


  • Office of Communication, Ofcom, covers telecoms , media (radio, television, but not BBC) and more.
  • Advertising Standards Authority This includes advertising on non-broadcast electronic media (eg CD-ROM, internet). Phone 020 7580 5555
  • Press Complaints Commission Phone 020 7353 1284.
  • ISPA Not a statutory regulator, but reputable Internet Service Providers generally belong. The Code of Practice is quite large – see under Consumer Issues.
  • Phone-paid Services Authority for telephone Premium Rate Services complaints or enquiries – includes charity donations, gambling, competitions etc.

Sector Development, Research, Statistics

The collecting, sharing and use of data to improve performance across voluntary organisations is on Knowledge and data sharing page.

See Research Resources for help with doing your own research.


NB. This section was previously a separate page, with data put together when sector stats were hard to find on the web.

Scoping the sector is a developing field. There is no single definitive source, or a definitive definition of what the voluntary sector covers (see Glossary for some suggestions).

For instance, ‘registered charities’ will not cover all the small community organisations which aren’t registered in any way, or not-for-profits which don’t fall within the charitable definition (e.g. because their primary aim includes campaigning).

Key sources of charity statistics


Specific topics, regions

  • Sector bodies in English regions, and counties, have undertaken a variety of studies. See Local contacts for where to go to find out latest position.

Sector Development

RSA Project 2001 This ran pilot projects in Yorkshire and London, supporting voluntary organisations “in providing a quality learning experience for volunteers, committee members and staff”. The resulting report Making it Work – Learning and Accreditation in the Voluntary Sector, (Mar 01) costs £5 including p&p from 020 7451 6833.

Research Bodies, Think Tanks

  • ARVAC (Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) aims to increase effectiveness through research, and provide researchers with a supportive network. Acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations.
  • CAF Research Programme Has Charity Trends website, with research and analysis of data on the sector. This includes: payroll giving, gift aid, income from central government and health authorities, trends in individual giving, local/community income. Free printed copies from CAF Research, phone 01732 520125, email: research@caf.charitynet.orgCAF does/supports various other research. Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4TA, phone 01732 520000.
  • Voluntary Action Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University. Undertakes contract research for organisations.
  • Civil Exchange “is a think tank that exists to help government and the voluntary sector work better together”.
  • DANGO (Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations) was tackling the availability of records relating to non-governmental organisations and pressure groups active in the UK since 1945, to help assess the impact of such bodies on society. Ended 2007 – see NGOs in Britain below.
  • EMES European Network studies third sector, social enterprises etc.
  • European Research Network on Philanthropy.
  • The Evidence Library has been set up by Scottish umbrella body SCVO to “provide a resource for discovering new research, finding out the latest facts and figures and stimulating ideas”.
  • The Galileo Group (not the international investment company) is an independent scholarly community of academics and practitioners whose main interest is to explore the way in which theories can be developed and applied to problems of organisation and management in the voluntary sector.
  • HistPhil is a web publication on the history of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, with a particular emphasis on how history can shed light on contemporary philanthropic issues and practice.
  • Institute for Jewish Policy Research has undertaken studies on governance, resources etc. within the jewish voluntary sector.
  • Institute for Voluntary Action Research, developed out of Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research, Aston Business School.
  • Institute for Volunteering Research.
  • nfpSynergy, a commercial business, aims to “provide ideas, insights and information to help not for profit organisations thrive in a changing world.”
  • NGOS in Britain (Non-Governmental Organisations UK 1945-1997) project ran from 2008 to 2011. At Centre for Modern and Contemporary History.
  • Third Sector Research Centre (government/ESRC funded 2008-14).
  • The Royal Irish Academy did have a Third Sector Research Programme but no sign on the website from spring 2013.
  • UK Voluntary Sector Research Group (UKVSRG) brings together the researchers of the four national sector bodies (see Support Bodies page). Wales – WCVA supports sector research and networking. Scotland – try SCVO’s Evidence Library.
  • Voluntary Action History Society aims to advance the historical understanding and analysis of voluntary action, charitable and voluntary organisations and to build a network of academics, students and practitioners working in this field.
  • Voluntary Sector Studies Network “provides a virtual and actual meeting point for scholars and researchers both outside and within the voluntary (third or non-profit) sector(s), with a shared analytic interest in this set of institutions.” Publishes Voluntary Sector Review journal – see Magazines.
  • Various regional statistics have been produced for the sector. See our Local/Regional contacts page.

International (mainly American)

Research Projects and Reports

Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives – website run by run by the British Academy Research Project ‘Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Britain’ . A five year project (2014-19) which aims to support voluntary sector archives in the preservation and digitisation of their archives and to promote archives as part of the voluntary sector’s wider public benefit responsibility.

Third Sector Impact, a research project bringing together over thirty researchers from 10 European universities and more than 100 stakeholders, was launched January 2014. It aims to understand the scope and scale of the third sector in Europe, its current and potential impact, and the barriers hindering the third sector to fully contribute to the continent’s welfare.

Charity Law and Policy Unit, University of Liverpool. Some publications:

  • Charities and the Contract Culture. Report, July 99, on a year-long research project to identify problems of a legal nature which have arisen for charities as a result of the ‘contract culture’.
  • Legal Issues in Charity Mergers Report, Jan 01, on a year-long research project to identify the legal issues arising in charity mergers and the different responses to them, and to consider the most appropriate solutions to commonly experienced problems.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation carries out some research of relevance. Published 12/3/01: ‘The role and future development of black and minority ethnic organisations‘. This mapping exercise looks at the role of black and minority ethnic-led voluntary and community organisations in England and Wales.

Public Management Foundation Wasted Values: harnessing the commitment of public managers (Nov 99), available from their online book store. A report on research into the goals and motivations of senior public managers. It concludes that public sector managers and their private sector counterparts are motivated by very different things. In June 99, the Foundation undertook a nationwide survey of 400 of the UK’s top public, private and voluntary sector managers. Asked about their goals and about what motivates them to do their job well, managers in the three different sectors gave some revealingly different replies. Voluntary sector managers show a mixture of public and private sector views.

Also see Training – professional development as most of the higher education establishments listed run research programmes to some extent.



A good starting point if you are looking to purchase (or rent) new equipment is What to Buy for Business. Find it in your local (business) reference library, as you need to locate the most recent round-up of the area you are interested in.

Business Equipment Contracts: How To Avoid The Pitfalls is from NCVO, (1996, ISBN 0 7199 1509 0, £5-00) in association with the Photocopier and Business Equipment Users Association. See Publishers page re NCVO. A guide to buying and leasing photocopiers and fax equipment with an explanation of finance contracts.

For equipment generally, remember that it’s not just the initial purchase price that matters – running costs and therefore ‘total cost of ownership’ (TCO) can vary a lot.

You may find the ‘computer replacement strategy‘ (in Word format), drafted by Paul Ticher in connection with a UKRiders discussion, of interest.

There is a Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, for those who are professionals in this area.

See Misc Services page for travel, admin services and more.

General Supplies and Deals

Sector Sources

  • Charities Buying Group is a bulk purchasing arrangement set up by disabled support charity Leonard Cheshire. While big names are signed up, they also welcome small to medium charities. Can provide savings on general areas such as stationery, office equipment and utilities, but also more specialist (mainly care) stuff. Phone 020 7802 8280.
  • InKindDirect Redistributing goods from manufacturers and retailers. Goods range from cleaning products and toiletries, to clothing, toys and nursery items. Refurbished laptops, desktops and photocopiers are also supplied. Register to be able to browse an online catalogue – there is a handling charge for using the service, generally 10-20% of the retail value of the goods, and includes delivery costs. Phone 020 7398 5510,r email:
  • NCVO have negotiated various discounts for their members and also some which extend to non-members.
  • Other sector bodies have arranged some supplier discounts for members.

General Sources

  • Viking Direct Office supplies website is worth registering on, if only to make price comparisons with the above. Useful to get the full printed catalogue, then you can look up a current price on just about any office item. Euroffice is a web-based rival, with simple and cheap pricing.
  • Ethical Stationery is a social enterprise that aims to provide a complete range of ecologically responsible office supplies and services. They claim transparent pricing – “No gimmicks, no expensive catalogues, no price hikes”.

Specific items


Including printers, network kit etc. Also see Services – Computer, as many of those listed will supply hardware too. Also look under Environmental Impact page for more IT recycling firms.

  • Charity Digital Exchange, previously tt-exchange/Charity Technology Exchange. Eligible charities can obtain donated software from various tech companies such as Microsoft, and networking equipment from Cisco. A small administration fee is payable, but charities still make savings of over 90% on normal list price.
  • Computers for Charities is also worth checking (it is a registered charity).
  • IT for Charities has a further list of suppliers of recycled machines and discounted supplies.

Delivery services

  • DHL We understand they have a reduced tariff for registered charities for those regularly using international express. This can save over 60 per cent on both inbound and outbound international document and parcel express, as well as a significant discount on international mail. We couldn’t find info on the website, so we suggest contacting your local DHL office.

Display stands, Exhibitions

  • PEP Ltd Hire of stands, as well as affordable but practical display systems and stands. Will demonstrate. Phone 0800 652 6565, email:
  • Alpha Communications Design, installation etc. Third sector specialists (they’re a coop). Phone 0191 375 0101, email:
  • Marler Haley is a large format print company which provides portable exhibition displays such as banner stands, PVC outdoor banners, tablecloths and much more besides to a large number of charities, big and small.


  • 3Space “is a charity which works in partnership with landlords and leaseholders to offer organisations that benefit the community temporary free of charge access to otherwise empty properties”.
  • Ethical Property Company continues to develop of office centres around the country specifically for voluntary organisations or social enterprises.
  • CAN Mezzanine in London and Bristol is run by a social enterprise to provide affordable, high-quality office space for charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises.
  • VSC (Voluntary Sector Centres) has some Charity Centres letting out office space below market rates.

There are a number of other social enterprise initiatives around the country – keep your ears to the ground, as buildings tend to fill quickly.

Recycled Supplies

  • Green Stationery Company Studio One, 114 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BG, phone 01225 480556, email:
  • PaperBack ‘the name in recycled paper’. Phone 020 8980 5580.

Recycling your equipment

If you are upgrading IT systems, making old computers redundant, renewing furniture etc. check out Resource Extra – Environmental Impact.


See Accounts Software or Membership Software pages for suppliers in those specialist areas, and also the Technology Services listing page.

There are various charity discounts available for Microsoft and other products. The different options can be quite confusing and even those resellers with a particular sector focus can be unclear at times on criteria for the discounts.

  • The following four suppliers are part of a discount scheme for NCVO member organisations where some of the restrictions around licence volumes etc may be waived. They are also a good place for non-members to start, too, for Microsoft or other software.
    Akhter Computers# Phone 01279 821202, email:
    Entec Phone 01462 499599, email:
    Phoenix Software Ltd Blenheim House, York Road, Pocklington, York, YO42 1NS, phone 0845 265 1265, email:
    Pugh Computers Denver House, Llanon, Aberystwyth, SY23 5LP, phone 01974 200201, email:
  • WCVA members (Welsh equivalent of NCVO) and SCVO members (Scotland) should contact Pugh Computers re above discounts.
  • Microsoft had a UK software donation programme, now replaced by TT Exchange (previously Charity Technology Exchange) – see under Computers above.

Telecoms/Communication Centres

  • The Phone Co-op ‘was founded because it identified a need for organisations in the Third Sector or Social Economy to have access to affordable telecommunications’. They did have a Third Sector Tariff available to charities, non-profits, co-ops, public sector, but its disappeared from the website (Jan ’06). Phone 0870 458 2000, email:
  • The Ofcom PASS (Price Assurance Standard) is meant to help provide clear price comparisons (residential lines).
  • CLASS Systems have special deals negotiated on behalf of NCVO, including a tariff open to non-members. Phone 0800 018 6992.

Phone Conferencing info is on the Admin page. Communication/call centres – Media Services.


Utility Aid provides Utility deals through Charities Buying Group (see top section), and direct.

Charities are exempt from the climate change levy if business use is less than 40% of the total. Check to see if this applies to your organisation, and get billed correctly. There is also an issue around the rate of VAT on energy supplies where non-business use (e.g. services funded by grant, donations rather than by contract) should be eligible for the VAT rate charged on domestic bills (5%).

Membership, Mailing and Response Services


Note: Pretty sure this is out of date info, as are many of the listings below …  bulk mailings (4,000 or more) can get discounts under Royal Mail’s Mailsort service if they are pre-sorted – mailing houses may keep quiet about this and keep the discount for themselves! Sometimes it can be worthwhile to set up your own Mailsort account – try 0345 950950 for your nearest Sales Centre.

Membership/Mailing list management

  • Membership Plus are ‘membership marketing communications specialists’. Membership cards, renewals, fulfilment, mailing, consultancy, creative services. Phone 01227 741066, email:
  • Lavenham Press Design and Print, mailing as well as membership management. TLG, Arbons House, Water St, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9RN, phone 01787 249199.
  • Kingston Smith Have an ‘Association Management’ outsourcing division which does database and membership management. While it appears to be focused on trade associations, the firm also has more general ‘not-for-profit’ expertise, so worth a try. Phone 020 7304 4646, or the trade association contact Michael Trenchard on 01727 832261, email:
  • Electoral Reform Society (under Other services) also do subscription renewals, database management, membership surveys, appeals management, mailing services etc.

Mainly Mailings and Marketing

There are a large number of ‘Mailing Houses’ who will take a mailing list and process it in various ways. Some with voluntary sector experience include:

  • ITO, a mental health charity. Mailing, response fulfilment, packing and distribution. Lydstep Terrace, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1DR, phone 0117 966 8491.
  • Adare has long experience working with charities, such as RSPB. Mailing services, printing etc.

Slightly different but worth noting, is L-Mail, where you can send send letters to any postal address via the Internet.

For email newsletter management and the like, see Internet and Web Services.

Response handling

Coping with response to appeals or the promotion of a special event or membership drive can really strain the resources of many groups. Often part of one of the above services, and is noted where known, but some of the banks will also provide the service (whether postal or phone, possibly even internet), checking cheques or other payment and passing on or processing information received with it. The Co-op Bank is one such.

  • Two-Ten Communications, phone 01937 840210.
  • Tokenhelp.

Other membership services

Elections, ballots. Electoral Reform Services Ballot services for unions and other membership organisations. Free seminars too. 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW, phone 020 8365 8909, email:

Ballot boxes. Try Shaw’s election supplies.

Income Services

This page originally focused on online income services only. A short section on offline income services was started November 2014.

Online Income Processing Options

There are a number of ways of getting money processed as a result of someone making a decision to ‘buy’ from your website (or via seeing a charity ad elsewhere):

  • At time of writing (June 2000), it is common for all types and sizes of organisations to require a form to be printed off and posted, or a phone call, with cheque or credit card payment being processed in ‘standard’ ways.
  • Use a Payment Service Provider (PSP) facility, where your website connects through when someone wants to make a payment. The money goes to their account, and you get paid typically 45 days later. (Information should be collected on your site so you respond before then!). Operate on a set-up fee (sometimes free) plus a percentage per transaction which can be double the offline charge.
  • A ‘secure server‘ within your web set-up which allows taking credit/debit card details online, and you then feed in manually to your normal card processing arrangements.
  • Real online card processing, through a facility like ePDQ (see Barclays), with a live or batch connection to the card issuers/clearers. Usually a monthly fee, lower transaction charge than PSP – try to negotiate same as your offline arrangement.
  • Your own online processing facility, connecting through to the banks system in a similar way to BACS. Only for the largest, and even then probably not yet.

Online Income Tools, Services, Apps

You may want to investigate how these facilities manage or link in to Gift Aid processing. Note that some services are promoted as “free” but check what this means, as the phrase can ignore administration charges or cuts from Gift Aid, for example.

  • Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) can collect donations over the internet in various ways.
  • Enthuse (was Charity Checkout) online payment processing.
  • Donate is a mobile tool, originally designed to get guests giving at charity events  etc. Run by charity National Funding Scheme.
  • PayPal has a simple Donate button as part of its solutions for charities.
  • Rapidata Services has some online fundraising services as well as direct debit facilities.
  • SnapDonate (new autumn 2014) is an app which connects with JustGiving via scanning a charity logo.
  • Charity Digital (was Tech Trust) has various fundraising related online (and offline) services, including bulk email, card processing.

The open source add-on to the CiviCRM platform, CiviContribute, may be available. While coming from an American base, they are trying hard to internationalise it.

Also see Membership Systems, as increasingly fundraising management processes are integrated into a wider CRM (customer relationship management) function. Also check Online services for Event Management.

Platforms, giving portals

Also see Fundraising Resources page for sample charity websites, ‘shop and give’. Make sure you check what set up costs, commission on Gift Aid claims and/or transaction fees are charged.

  • Charity Choice web directory provides an online donation facility for registered charities.
  • Charity Giving, another online giving site, is operated by the Dove Trust, a charity which has been providing fundraising support since 1983. Lower charges than most.
  • Encourages individuals to share a photo, video or any link that will inspire others and give to charity. Projects and community groups as well as charities.
  • Global Giving “Projects on are screened to ensure they meet a genuine charitable purpose, in areas such as education, health, economic development and the environment.”
  • GoFundMe launched in the UK in 2017. From 2018, 5% donor charge dropped in favour of “voluntary tips”.
  • Golden Giving Only charges card transaction fees, through support by various philanthropic partners.
  • iRaiser Based in Paris (suggested by Shelter Scotland’s digital manager in an article Oct. 2014).
  • JustGiving The most well-known online platform for individual charity fundraising. There is an annual membership charge, unless you sign up for the Basic account. They also have a crowdfunding facility. Possibly also a ‘white label’ version for use within a charity’s own web page.
  • Localgiving aims to enable philanthropic giving to small local charities and community groups in the UK. It is a social enterprise owned by two charities, and every local charity listed is vetted by their local Community Foundation. There is an annual fee.
  • Make a Donation, now part of Golden Giving No commission charges due to support from businesses.
  • Makerble More about tracking impact of projects to show the change donors can make.
  • SmartGiving Fundraising pages and charity accounts (claiming Gift Aid before the account holder allocates the money). A registered charity.
  • The Big Give.
  • Total Giving from Raise your Profile using its Donation Manager software. No fees, apart from PayPal processing.
  • Virgin Money Giving is another individual fundraising platform, set up as a not-for-profit. There is a set up fee.

Community shares, Crowdfunding

General Payment Services

  • Barclaycard Business Services ePDQ is their online payment facility for approved merchants.
  • Paysafe (was NetBanx).
  • PayPal is a little different to the others. Accepts credit card payments very quickly, but there are some restrictions on what you can then do with the money.
  • Planet Payment Phone 0800 027 3636.
  • PayPoint. (previously SECpay).
  • Trust Payments/SecureTrading provides ‘real time’ processing of payments by credit and debit card. UK based.
  • WorldPay is quite widely used by UK charities (which are charged 1% on credit cards, no annual fee). Doesn’t meet full accessibility requirements, according to reports. Part of Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Cards and payment facilities

Various banks provide branded debit/credit cards for charities – we haven’t collated details so far.

Web design, hosting, internet services

Getting the right deal

Many companies do special deals for charities. Unfortunately, there is no standard way of charging or setting up a web facility at present. You need to get a number of companies to quote for the work you want doing. Get them to explain what updating will be done by whom, when, and at what cost, or negotiate this. A clearly out-of-date web site reduces credibility! What time scales are they working to in design, who will be hosting (where your web site data/pages are actually kept) and are they likely to provide a reliable service with enough capacity for the level of interest you hope to generate?

Above all, make sure you get a specification which takes into account your existing IT systems (if any) and every aspect you need to keep it going for at least a year. (For example, could be hidden costs of extra pages above your basic agreement, need for expensive links to ‘upload’ data.)

Use of accessibility criteria and W3 standards is of increasing importance for any organisation.  Open Source software (such as WordPress) is a serious option, reducing basic costs but still usually needing help to implement, tweak design and interface with other systems. Sites like OpenSourceCMS have fairly techie info on the options.

Service Providers

Do it yourself

Web platforms such as WordPress (open source) and Google’s Blogger can enable you to set up your own basic website without specialist input. For best results some techie knowledge still helps.

There are also ‘drag-and-drop’ facilities such as Wix and Weebo, although these have limitatons and may not be fully accessible to all users.

Voice is an “easy-to-use website builder available free of charge to all community, not-for-profit, and voluntary groups in the UK”.

Mainly technical – ISP, hosting, packages

ISP = Internet Service Provider

  • GreenNet provides web services to organisations involved in peace, economic and social justice, human rights, environmental sustainability issues. Broadband, email, web (Drupal) hosting etc. Phone 0845 055 4011 / 020 7065 0935.
  • The Information Works Associated with Co-op Systems, specialising in web databases, web site support and strategy. Unit 4.09 Bondway Business Centre, 71 Bondway, London, SW8 1SQ, phone 020 7793 0677.

Mainly design and development

Also see specialist software developers.

  • Catfish Web Design produces anything from small ‘start-up’ sites to more complex designs with databases, e-commerce and content management systems – conform to W3C web-accessibility guidelines. Can also help with logo design, image branding and internet based marketing. Clients include Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Brain Research Trust, naz project london. Phone 01223 873349
  • Codeface, a small web solutions agency, has worked with a variety of voluntary organisations. Office 11, Curtis House, 34 Third Avenue,Hove, BN3 2PD.
  • Electric Putty Works predominantly with organisations in the non-profit sector and specialises in creating accessible information based websites using their own content management system.
  • Fat Beehive Done stuff for Action Research, Coin Street. Flexible pricing. Website, consultancy, design, backend, databases, browser testing, hosting, content management systems, e-commerce. 59 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3QQ, phone 020 7739 8704.
  • Frieze Web Design has a policy that “charities pay only what they can afford”. Plenty of experience working with non-profit organisations.
  • GreenNet Design specialise in ‘creating fine web sites for the NGO and non-profit community’. 74-77 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF, phone 020 7713 1941.
  • Headscape Have worked with Back Care, Butterfly Conservation, CAFOD, Fire Fighters Charity, Aidsmap, National Trust, National Parks, and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and strong on usability and accessibility aspects of web design and development.
  • Hugh Barnard Web design and programming (using open source tools), consultancy and teaching at all levels. Voluntary sector references available. Based in Hackney, East London.
  • Jamkit From simple web sites to complex extranets and mailing lists, with a particular emphasis on usability, accessibility and client control. Customers include Moorfields Eye Hospital, Breast Cancer Care, London Housing Foundation. Phone 020 7549 0520.
  • Jim Byrne Accessible web design, audits and training.
  • spotts Website Development for the Voluntary Sector by a freelance developer.
  • Suspire Media A number of charity clients. Phone 020 8521 8505.
  • Un.titled (was tincan) Their portfolio shows that they have produced a number of content management system based web sites for major charities and arts organisations.
  • Torchbox RationalMedia content management system, web-based software such as management information systems and reporting applications, online community building, consultancy, training, managed hosting and support services. Charities and public sector are core areas.